Saturday, February 13, 2010

My Name Is Khan: After-thoughts

Reviewers are alleged that they don't take the movie as is and try to figure out what it could have been. I have almost always reviewed movies the way they are. I'll, however, review My Name is Khan in two parts. First, the way the movie is. And second, what the movie could have been.

I found the movie between good and average. I tried to find a reason to it. I tried looking at what made the movie 'average' but couldn't find anything tangible. I wondered why Rizwan Khan, (pronounced from the epiglottis - this is not only for the Americans but also for some friends from the southern part of India) played by Shah Rukh Khan, is going after the President when his wife Mandira (Kajol), in her grief of losing her child, asked him to do so. But then i read that people having Asperger's Syndrome take things at their face value. Then i wondered, why Mandira didn't try to find him or get him back once she was out of her anger. Then i realized that she had lost her son - whom she loved the most. It may not be easy for a mother to forgive a person whom she thinks is somehow responsible for her son's death. I also found the "communal" angle to Sameer's (Mandira's son) death skewed. Nevertheless, i could understand the societal situation after 9/11 - almost anything was, perhaps, attached a communal connotation. Essentially, i couldn't find any logical flaw in the movie.

But, a movie is not a back-end software. It's not only logic. My Name Is Khan, somehow, couldn't strike a chord with me. 3 idiots, on the other hand had a lot of logical flaws in it. However, I loved 3 Idiots. Here, in My Name is Khan, i felt something was missing. I guess, the emotions could not be conveyed properly. There was a lack of finishing-touch. Feels were left 'half cooked'.

Kuchh Kuchh Hota Hai is one of my all time favorite movies. I also liked K3G a lot. So, probably, my expectation from My Name is Khan was a bit too much which it couldn't live up to. I know it's not right to compare the movies and have presumptions. But, i couldn't be neutral when it came to a movie which my favorite trio was making. There is one thing which ties the three movies together - use of well-known songs. Kuchh Kuchh used Raghu Pati raghav. K3G used Jana Gana Mana and Vande Matram. My Name is Khan used Hum Honge Kamyaab and We shall overcome.

There were a few things about My Name Is Khan which I really liked. The first and foremost being the title itself. Given the story of the movie, i don't think it could have a better name. Names like Kuchh Kuchh and K3G are too generic and could be applied to most Bollywood love stories. My Name is Khan is unique in that sense. Quite a lot of miseries which they face in the movie was because the name of the protagonist was 'Khan'. The whole movie revolved around it. The appropriateness of the title is commendable.

I also liked putting-into-perspective of a lot of traditional beliefs - like the sacrifice of Ismail and wearing a Hijab. I don't know what the 'right' interpretation is. But the one given in the movie seemed logical to me.

Another good part of the movie was the Indian Shaadi sequence. Though, it didn't really fit into the story, it was good! Also, the Wilhelmina sequences were by far the most interesting sequences of the movie. They were really fast paced.

The performances by all the actors were outstanding. Kajol did a good comeback. I, especially, liked the acting of Tanay Chheda as the young Rizwan Khan. Zarina Wahab, Jimmy Shergil and Katie Keane did their part well. The music, by Shankar Ehsaan Loy, was also good and relevant.

Despite all the tangible 'goods' i described. It was not good enough. Movie making is an art and there is no formula to it. As said in 3 Idiots, and coincidentally by Paulo Coelho, that one should do what one likes (and, hence, is good at). Karan Johar is good at conveying human emotions. He should stick to that. I would have loved another love story from him. Just like everyone in India wants to be either an engineer or a doctor, every director wants to make a movie either on some disability or communal tension. One must not get into the herd-mentality and stick to one's core competency. Aditya Chopra did that with Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi - he stuck to his competency.

Anyway, now my chance to give my unsolicited comments on what could have made a better story.

We have Rizwan Khan desperate to meet Mr President. He was following him everywhere. Now, the obvious thing is that the FBI or the American Intelligence would sense this pattern of a person following Mr. President. Isn't it? I guess, they should have caught him as a 'usual suspect' and, perhaps, imprisoned him. I would have ended my story there. In the end, Mandira gets back to her life alone. Rizwan is imprisoned. But, anyway, these are just my thoughts.

Overall it's a good-to-average movie. And wouldn't hurt anyone. However it's not one of the best movies by SRK, Kajol or KJo.


Aritra Das February 14, 2010 at 12:11 AM  

Dude, u didn't like SRK's acting!!

Yes, I admit that the movie was not that special, but SRK's acting was a high point in the movie... His performance made us speechless - what might be called one of his best performances in recent times (other than Chak De)

Ebrahim Kabir February 14, 2010 at 12:37 AM  

Nice read...this is by far one of the worst film...I have seen in ages.

Aritra Das February 14, 2010 at 1:04 AM  

err, excuse me - what's ur age?

Amresh Sinha February 14, 2010 at 3:51 PM  

I have not seen the movie ,,but i can trust ur judgement on it..even widout watching it i can imagine wat all u said overacting by srk btw this time ..hmmm ..dats unbelievbale

deicider February 14, 2010 at 4:23 PM  

No comment.

maliha February 14, 2010 at 5:34 PM  

the movie didnt seem to make an impression on you either way. I didnt watch it yet but almost everyone who did seemed to have a strong opinions.

Prashant Mehta February 15, 2010 at 12:37 AM  

Aritra Das ji
I couldn't really isolate SRK's acting. Performance of an actor is very much dependent on director. [Aishwarya Rai has had her best performances when she was directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali]. So, given the context, he acted well. He didn't overact

Ebrahim Kabir ji
Thanks! Well, i wouldn't call it the worst film because i saw films like Ghajini, Heyy Baby, etc :(

Amresh Sinha ji
Do let me know what you think in case you end up watching the movie

Deicider ji
Is that a new avatar of missed call? :-p

Maliha ji
Ahaa.. That's common among KJo-SRK movies - they always elicit strong opinions.

Suman Y February 17, 2010 at 5:30 PM  

Congrats for the 5000+ visits :)

Alpesh February 17, 2010 at 11:44 PM  

Nice review Prashant, but i don't agree with u on the title part as i have much better and appropriate title for it and it is.......My Surname Is Khan..and i am not a terrorist :-)

Prashant Mehta February 19, 2010 at 1:18 AM  

Suman ji
Thanks you for wishing and for contributing as well :)

Alpesh ji

deicider February 20, 2010 at 12:27 PM  

Hey ,I guess I am publicizing somebody else but I think a pakistani point of view of MNIK is the order of the day.Please read the following:

Prashant Mehta February 21, 2010 at 2:47 AM  


Thanks a lot for the link. A completely different and thought provoking perspective on the movie.

Varun February 26, 2010 at 2:08 PM  

just 2 words : AWESOME REVIEW !!!...

hats off..... am visiting ur blog for the first time.... it was a reat read..... the best review of anything that I have read so far...

nicee,,, keep blogging... will be looking out for more reviews from you....


Prashant Mehta February 27, 2010 at 1:38 AM  

Varun ji

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